Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

I think that we communicate only too well, in our silence, in what is unsaid, and that what takes place is a continual evasion, desperate rear-guard attempts to keep ourselves to ourselves.

Harold Pinter

S North
E-W ♠ Q 6
 4 2
 K 10 5 4 2
♣ K 7 6 5
West East
♠ A J 8 4 2
 Q J 3
 J 9 3
♣ 4 2
♠ 10 9 7
 K 9 8 6
 Q 7 6
♣ J 10 8
♠ K 5 3
 A 10 7 5
 A 8
♣ A Q 9 3
South West North East
1 NT Pass 3 NT All pass


When South opens a 15-17 no-trump, North has a simple raise to game. Yes, he could invite game, but so often the more information you give away, the easier the defense becomes.

When West leads a spade, declarer must put the queen up from dummy, since if he plays low and East plays anything but the ace, the defenders will be able to run the spades as soon as they regain the lead. When the spade queen holds, declarer must try to develop diamonds while keeping East off lead, in case spades are 5-3 rather than 4-4.

So South leads a diamond toward his hand. When East plays low, declarer puts in the eight and West wins; his best move now is to shift to a top heart. Declarer ducks the queen as East encourages the lead, then takes West’s heart jack with his ace. He unblocks the diamond ace, then cashes the club ace, leads the club nine to the king and tries to runs the diamonds, pitching a small heart from hand on the last.

When diamonds break, South can cash 10 tricks. If they had failed to split, with West having the length, declarer would still have been able to bring home his game. He would run the clubs, ending in dummy, and after 10 tricks (one spade, two hearts, three diamonds and four clubs) he would exit with the fourth diamond, knowing West would win the trick and be endplayed to lead away from his spade ace. West would be unable to escape the endplay except by unblocking in diamonds, which would obviously lead to a worse fate.

North’s double is for take-out, since the opponents have announced a fit. Your soft cards in the black suits mean that your values may not be pulling their full weight, so I would just bid two diamonds, planning to compete again in diamonds if necessary.


♠ Q 6
 4 2
 K 10 5 4 2
♣ K 7 6 5
South West North East
Pass 1 ♣ 1 Dbl.
Pass 1 ♠ Dbl. Pass

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog.
Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact

1 Comment

Ken MooreAugust 2nd, 2018 at 11:16 pm


In BWTA, can you give a few general guidelines (according to modern bidding practices) when a double is for takeout and when for penalties. Since north’s double is his second bid, I would take as for real.